North Korean hackers used Tornado Cash to launder $147.5M

The notorious Lazarus Group is once again targeted in a new report by the United Nations, which has traced millions of stolen funds back to the group and how it was laundered

According to a secret report seen by sources at Reuters, the United Nations has been able to pinpoint at least $147.5 million that was stolen by the North Korean hacker collective Lazarus Group, tied to the ruling regime, which used Tornado Cash to launder the money and emit it back to the country to use for perpetuating its agenda.

The hackers took the $147.5 million in question from HTX, a crypto exchange that is owned by Justin Sun, TRON founder, and then used Tornado Cash, a website targeted by US regulators, to ensure that the origin of the funds is obfuscated to the point where the funds can be used freely. Yet, law enforcement's ability to track down illicit funds through Tornado Cash is significantly changing criminals' ability to avoid detection.

The report was presented to the United National Security Council and it illustrated the dangers of cyberattacks as well as how successful North Korean hackers have been in general. Between 2017 and 2024, cybercriminals from the country have stolen $3.6 billion worth of cryptocurrencies tied to 97 security incidents.

Not only that, but North Korean IT workers who work abroad generate significant income that they remit back home afterwards. Meanwhile, North Korea and Russia have been warming up ties, with Russia opening bank accounts for the country to further facilitate the skirting of sanctions.

North Korea is believed to have been able to acquire 50% of its foreign exchange earnings through attacks perpetuated by the Lazarus Group, which is a significant amount. Reports about Lazarus Group have been seeping through in the press, and not just in the United Nations, as the collective has pulled some of the most serious attacks against Western companies, governmental agencies, and private firms.

Because of the Lazarus Group’s operations and preference to use Tornado Cash, the US State Department has taken issue with the website. Lazarus is said to be responsible for 20% of all crypto losses in 2023 alone.

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Written by Barney


Barney is co-founder of When not at work he can usually be found behind a Nikon. He's won numerous international competitions for his photography and volunteers as a content creator for aid organisations in Africa.

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